BSA Finds Reference To ‘child Pornography’ Did Not Breach Standards, But Encourages Caution
BSA finds reference to ‘child pornography’ in news item did not breach standards, but encourages caution and judgement around terminology
The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has not upheld a complaint that a Newshub item reporting on the arrest of Sir Ron Brierley for alleged possession of ‘child pornography’ should have instead referred to ‘child exploitation’.
The complaint under the good taste and decency standard was not upheld, as the BSA found in the context of an unclassified news item carrying high public interest, the use of the phrase did not undermine community standards of taste and decency or justify limiting freedom of expression.
However the BSA recognised there is some debate about whether ‘child pornography’ is appropriate terminology, on the basis it may have the effect of normalising or trivialising what is very serious criminal conduct and the impact on child victims.
The BSA noted that the Digital Safety Team at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) acknowledges the debate and does not use the term. DIA considers the term ‘child sexual abuse material’ most accurately describes the material.
In its decision, the Authority said, “[w]e encourage broadcasters to take note of the issues highlighted in this decision including evolving language associated with child sexual abuse, and to exercise judgement when selecting terminology in reporting on this subject.”